Choosing a swim school is a big decision. As a swim teacher, I see, even more so, the importance of finding the right fit for you and your family. Learning to swim should be a fun and positive experience.
Every child is unique and learns differently, so here are a few things to consider when choosing a swim school that is right for you and your child.
This is the obvious but necessary one; You need to know that the swim school is a safe environment. When safety is a priority, processes will be in place to keep children, families and staff safe. This includes the physical environment and the protection of children and young people.
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE
Yes, a nice pool is important, but something easily overlooked when choosing a swim school, is the possible distractions within the centre you choose. The environment needs to encourage learning. Possible distractions that can make learning difficult could include waterslides or play areas for the general public.
It should be a comfortable space for the whole family. You want it to be easy to change, it needs to be clean and family friendly for siblings and parents with prams.
The temperature of the water is also important, warmer temperatures equal a more comfortable learning environment for babies and children (and teachers!).
IS IT A PERFECT MATCH?
Your child needs to be able to grow in the program as their confidence grows and their technique improves. Ask about the different levels that are offered and ensure they offer a program that will compliment your child throughout their learn to swim adventure.
National accreditations are a sign of a quality water safety program that is in line with industry standards. Reviews and forums can give insight of how the swim school is regarded within the community. Don’t forget the most valuable resource…Other parents, ask around!
How big are their classes? Your child will receive more focus and attention with a smaller child to teacher ratio. Classes should be grouped with children at similar levels of development to make sure the kids are not held back from progressing or pushed ahead before they are ready.
IT'S THE VIBE!
This is so important, if your child is not comfortable and enjoying themselves, they are not going to learn effectively. Before I became a swim teacher, I didn’t prioritise this as much as I would now. The rapport between a swim teacher and their students is a special one.
A good teacher can bring out the best in your kids. Look for qualified, dedicated teachers, a good swim school will teach consistently, no matter who is leading the class.
The people who work at the centre can make a big difference to your experience. Great customer service, welcoming staff and how the kids are encouraged will also make a big difference in your overall experience.